MOVES-Top Nomura Middle East banker quits firm -source

DUBAI, April 22 (Reuters) - One of Nomura's 8604.T top bankers in the Middle East has left the Japanese firm, a source close to the matter said, the latest in a series of ex-Lehman bankers to quit the investment bank.

Jameel Akhrass was vice-chairman of Nomura’s investment banking division in the Middle East and North Africa. A former Morgan Stanley banker, he joined Lehman in 2006 to oversee the bank’s launch in the Middle East. “He has left the firm to pursue other interests and explore other opportunities,” a person familiar with the matter said. A Nomura spokesperson confirmed Akhrass had left the company.

Several Nomura bankers have left the bank in recent days.

Earlier this week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch BAC.N named Christian Meissner as head of investment banking for Europe, Middle East and Africa after the Japanese bank said he had quit as deputy global head of investment banking. [ID:nLDE63J21E]

And UK bank HSBC HSBA.L said on Wednesday it had appointed former Nomura executive Jane Wang as head of its corporate finance business in China. [ID:nHKU002261]

The Japanese brokerage bought Lehman Brothers’ European and Asian operations in October 2008. In the Middle East, Nomura earlier in April launched its Saudi Arabian operation.

Akhrass’ departure is also the latest in a series of high-profile changes at the top of leading investment banks active in the Middle East.

Credit Suisse's CSGN.VX head of mergers and acquisitions for the Middle East left the Swiss bank at the beginning of 2010 to join the investment arm of Qatar's sovereign wealth fund. [ID:nLDE6350UA]

UK bank Barclays BARC.L earlier in April poached Michael Helou, the co-head of Rothschild's investment banking division for the MENA region.

Reporting by Nicolas Parasie